Imagine yourself in this situation: You’ve spent the past year or more shopping around for the school that fits you best. You’ve read promotional documents. You’ve visited campuses. You’ve seen theatres and recital halls. Perhaps you’ve met with a professor or taken a lesson with a voice coach. After a year or more of research and careful deliberation, you have your heart set on your dream school. Until now, you’ve been preparing your music, meeting with your voice teacher regularly, and feeling like you’re in good shape for audition season. But now that you’ve chosen a school and your goal is clearly defined, you begin to feel there is much more at stake.
The truth is that you’re right, but maybe not for the reasons you’re thinking. You may be thinking, “What if I’m not good enough?” or, “No matter how good I am, there will always be somebody better than me.” Though these are perfectly natural worries, they focus your attention on your weaknesses and not on your strengths.
This attitude forces you into “competition mentality:” thinking that you have to pull out all the stops, choose the most difficult repertoire so that you stand out… trying to intimidate the person who is waiting outside for their turn, listening to you through the crack in the door. You want to be sure that everyone will be impressed by all the amazing things you can do. If this is you, it’s time to look at things from a different angle.
Everyone likes to show off. If you’re a performer, it probably comes naturally to you. You’ve probably been saying, “Look what I can do!” from the time you could speak. An audition, however, is not the venue for “Look what I can do!” An audition is a venue for “Look what I can do well,” and for many of you, this is a game changer.
“Look what I can do!” puts you immediately into “competition mentality,” and leads to choosing repertoire that is “showy” but often poorly suited to your voice, your skill level, or your personality, which results in an immediate disconnect between you and the people you’re singing for, which is a bad way to start an audition.
“Look what I can do well!” puts you into “performance mentality,” replacing nervousness with relaxation and confidence. You focus on your strengths and you choose repertoire that showcases them. It clears your mind and allows you to make a genuine connection with your audience. The audition becomes a shared experience and allows you to show the panel who you are, not just what you can do.
Most people will walk into the room thinking, “Look what I can do!” If you learn how to walk into the room thinking, “Look what I can do well!” you’ll be more likely to make a great first impression that will carry through to the moment you walk out the door. You will feel proud of what you’ve done and you can go home, knowing, that whatever happens, you’ve given a successful audition.
By Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler, Private Tutor